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Eatontown Personal Injury Law Blog

Retail employee safety is important around the holidays

Retail employees residing in New Jersey should be aware of safety risks associated with working over the holidays. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is taking the initiative to remind employers to take extra steps to focus on protecting retail workers and their pay. The fast-paced shopping environment surrounding the holidays leads to longer workdays and more demanding schedules for retail employees.

NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, explains that retail employers should be especially cautious about unsafe working conditions around the holidays and take extra steps to ensure that employees' physical and mental health is maintained through the holiday season. This can help reduce anxiety and make employees feel that their needs are being met, leading to increased safety and better morale.

Less than 6 hours of sleep raises risk for car crash

Residents of New Jersey may want to think about how much sleep they are getting and how that affects their driving abilities. Experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep, but surveys from the U.S. Department of Transportation and other organizations show that about one in three adult drivers fails to get this much. This is important to know because drowsy driving accounts for 7 percent of all car crashes in the U.S., including 16 percent of fatal crashes.

A study published in the SLEEP journal has quantified the risk based on how many hours of sleep drivers get. For its data, researchers relied on a U.S. DOT study that analyzed 5,470 crashes. This study included interviews with many of the drivers involved.

OSHA reveals top 10 workplace safety violations

Workers in New Jersey may confront an array of hazardous conditions in the workplace, especially when employers fail to abide by federal safety regulations. At the 2018 National Safety Council Congress, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) official presented a top 10 list of the violations most frequently cited by the agency in the past year. The statistics were collected between October 2017 and September 2018; for the most part, they reflected continuing concerns about unsafe environments that put workers at risk.

For example, the number one citation this year has also led the pack for the past several years: failing to provide fall protection. Employers have a duty to provide proper protective gear to employees working at heights near open sides. This gear could prevent falls from happening or reduce their danger in case of an incident. However, OSHA found 7,270 violations in the past year, mostly when employers failed to provide correct equipment to workers on roofs or near unprotected edges. This was not the only issue related to fall protection. The eighth most common workplace safety violation referred to employers failing to train their employees on protecting themselves from falls. There were 1,982 violations of the regulation throughout the year, with employers failing to provide training at all or using incompetent trainers.

The impact of increased physician burnout on patient health

Most patients in New Jersey clinics understandably expect their doctors to be alert and focused. However, there are times when health care professionals may be overburdened with work. In fact, research suggests physician burnout has reached epidemic levels in the United States, and this could present certain risks for patients. "Burnout" is a term that means more than just being tired. It also refers to a loss of enthusiasm, emotional exhaustion, a lack of personal and job satisfaction and increased detachment and cynicism.

According to one study of nearly 7,000 physicians, more than half reported experiencing at least one of the common symptoms associated with burnout. There has also been a decrease in satisfaction with work-life balance. Such stats are alarming since burnout also increases the risk of doctor error, which could involve oversights with prescriptions, test ordering and even surgery. Some physicians are also leaving medicine altogether or scaling back their hours, which limits patients access to care.

Understanding LBD

People who live in New Jersey may be one of the almost 1.4 million individuals in the United States with Lewy body dementia, or LBD. This is a complex and progressive disorder of the brain in which Lewy bodies accumulate in the parts of the brain that oversee movement, behavior and cognition. Its symptoms are very similar to well-known diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, resulting in the condition being severely underdiagnosed. There are many healthcare professionals, including physicians, who have no familiarity with LBD.

People who suffer from LBD can exhibit a wide range of symptoms. They may have difficulties with remembering, thinking, moving and sleeping. They may also experience drastic changes in behavior.

Smartphones have made mobile workers more distracted

Thanks to its Driver Safety Solutions, the vehicle management and reimbursement platform Motus has helped businesses reduce collision rates among their grey fleet drivers by 35 percent. However, it is clear that distracted driving is still an ongoing issue among such drivers and among mobile workers as a whole. New Jersey motorists will want to know about a study that Motus has released concerning this topic.

Its 2018 Distracted Driving Report shows that there is a parallel between smartphone ownership and auto accident rates among the mobile workforce. The former rose from 55 to 77 percent between 2013 and 2017, while the latter rose from 5.7 million to 6.4 million accidents. This is a 12.3 percent increase in car crashes.

Construction sites: the top five safety hazards

Construction workers in New Jersey should be familiar with the top safety hazards in their industry. Though construction workers make up 6 percent of the U.S. population, construction injuries account for 20 percent of all injuries among private sector employees. The following are the top five causes of construction site accidents.

Falls are to blame for over one third of all construction fatalities. Common factors in falls include unstable work surfaces, failure to wear fall protection equipment and the use of scaffolding and ladders that do not meet safety standards. These are all preventable factors. Employers will also need fall prevention equipment like safety nets and guardrails.

Amazon warehouses earn spot on list of most dangerous workplaces

Consumers in New Jersey enjoy the convenience of ordering merchandise online at Amazon, but they are insulated from the reportedly difficult working conditions endured by employees at Amazon warehouses. The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health has placed the online retail giant on its "dirty dozen" list of the most dangerous workplaces in the country.

The organization cited the deaths of seven workers since 2013 within the company's system of 140 domestic fulfillment centers. Three people died in one five-week period in several warehouses last year. Reports from workers and former workers describe a management that is hostile to people who suffer injuries. One lawsuit filed by a 43-year-old man claims that the company refused to acknowledge his report about a back injury and initiate a workers' compensation claim. A manager allegedly said that the employee was too young to have a back injury and promptly fired him.

Chemical handling: 11 important safety rules

The following are 11 basic safety rules that chemical handlers in New Jersey will want to see incorporated into their workplace and follow. They are all top priorities, so no particular order is given. The first rule is for workers to follow all established practices and go about their duties as they were trained to do. The second rule is to be cautious and anticipate any hazards before working.

Employers, for their part, should have procedures in place for emergency situations like fires and spills. They should ensure that the workplace is cleaned to prevent contamination. They are required to provide workers with personal protective equipment like gloves and respirators, and worn-out or damaged PPE should be replaced.

Study profiles those at highest risk for distracted driving

A study published by the Society for Risk Analysis has uncovered four profiles of drivers who are strongly inclined to call or text while behind the wheel. New Jersey residents may be interested in the results because they could point the way toward more effective distracted driving campaigns that target certain received notions about road safety.

The first profile group was women, who were found to be more likely than men to use their phones while driving. The other three groups are drivers who frequently call or text to begin with, drivers with negative attitudes about safety and drivers with few inhibitions. Researchers found that, on the whole, more experienced drivers were less likely to engage in distracting behavior.

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